Early influences can be long lasting. That's why our ponycar's 40-plus years of history has such a profound impact. Here's an example. When the owner of this particular Mustang was just a youngster, his best friend's father had - and actually still has - a 1966 Mustang fastback. Don Mills fell in love with that legend and grew determined to buy his own Mustang just as soon as he was old enough to drive. And so, he did. "This is my first car. I purchased it in March of 1997 when I was a senior in high school and have had it ever since," Don told us.
Since then, other Mustangs have come and gone, but this one isn't going anywhere without its current owner. "I love this car and have no plans of replacing or selling it. This one will stay with me forever." That's not to say the competition hasn't been intense. Don has built five other Mustangs in the last 10 years, including some all-engine, a couple of supercharged and one turbo version. Each of them, in turn, has moved on, but not the '87. When this car and Mills were first developing their relationship, some of his friends were also into the Mustang scene. They had all investigated and played with the basic bolt-on components, until one of the group discovered nitrous oxide. Escalation and friendly rivalry began to surface.
"I was determined to build my car all normally aspirated to keep up with, or beat, his car." First came an FRPP GT-40 upper and lower intake and fuel system developments. The hit from that was satisfying, but short-lived as you might expect. "I needed more, so I purchased a brand new set of GT-40X heads and a B-303 camshaft. In combination with long tube headers and EEC tuning, that made the difference I was looking for with the car to beat my buddy's nitrous car."
Naturally, the rivalries continued for a time, but then something strange happened. "The car became my pride and joy and I was done 'competing' with my friends for speed and I wanted to keep it super clean and make it stand out." All of the work that had been lavished on the hatch up to this point was done by Don himself, but when it came time for a new paint job, a friend of his, Brice, helped out. The original colors of Medium Cabernet on top and Titanium below the belt line were retained, but first there were some body lines that Don wanted to update. A Cervini's Stormin' Norman 2.5-inch cowl hood was installed, along with their Cobra grille. Don was impressed with the quality of the parts that Cervini's delivered. "I would definitely like to mention them as the fit, finish and quality of their hood and grille are amazing. There was very minimal prep and fitting work that needed to be done."
Let The Fun Begin
With a background in Information Systems, the Internet is no stranger to our Mr. Mills. So, you might understand why he ended up buying a used ATI Procharger via that big, online auction site. See, even though he was done competing with his friends, part of making the hatch stand out still revolved around performance. As is sometimes the case with Internet auctions, the goods delivered were not 100 per cent complete. A phone discussion with the good people at ATI filled in the bits missing from the parts list. At the same time, Don added the Renegade discharge tube to his order. And that is where things started to get interesting.